The Silky Goat is a unique miniature goat breed with a long flowing coat and is bred primarily as a show and pet breed. They do not fit into the traditional dairy, meat or fibre categories although the coat can be clipped and the hair used for craft and spinning.
It is most like the Old Scottish Highland and Old Dutch Landrace goats in appearance, being small and delicate, with short legs. It is long haired with tufts and fringes on the forehead. Horns are usually large, low and slightly twisted but most breeders disbud kids at an early age.
They should have an abundance of long flowing hair that grows from the spine and drapes over the goat’s body like a curtain. The hair on the neck and chest should blend with the body coat. The undercoat can be denser in the winter months. The coat should have a high lustre and a silky texture but can become dry and damaged from the sun.
Bucks typically can have more body coat and heavier fringes than does, though does often appear more elegant. Both bucks and does can be bearded with any colour or combination acceptable. Ideally their coat should hang almost to the ground but shorter lengths are accepted while the breed is being developed. Purebred bucks should measure around 62cm at the withers, with 57cm being ideal for purebred does.
As a new breed they will initially have a variety of looks and characteristics. The breed relies on the visual appearance and animals will be accepted into the breed based on their appearance. By generation five it is expected that the animal will meet the breed standard with progeny carrying the characteristics of their parents.
It is anticipated that in the early stages some offspring will not meet the appearance standard and these animals will be considered eligible for registration as Australian Miniature Goats, providing the animal meets the Australian Miniature Goat height standards.
As a breed that relies mainly on appearance, foundation animals will need to be approved by the AABMGS Inc. Committee. This can be done by way of photographs or physical inspection of the animal.
All foundation goats will need to be registered with AABMGS. It is acceptable for Foundation Animals to contain up to and including 25% of imported genetics but the goal is to reduce this percentage with each generation. At no stage in the breed development will an imported percentage of above 25% be considered, regardless of visual appearance. An animal will not be considered for registration in more than one breed category.
The ultimate goal is for the goat to have a sleek, elegant appearance, but in the foundation stages of the breed, a stockier build will be accepted, providing the animal has no disqualifying faults.
Coat: The ultimate goal is for the coat to be a single coat that should be consistently long, straight and flowing, draping over the entire body, reaching almost to the ground. A slight wave to the coat is acceptable. The coat should have a silky, high lustre appearance and, when touched, it should feel smooth and soft, not dry or brittle.
In the developmental stages Angora or Cashmere-type fibres may be acceptable but are not desirable. Inconsistent length and thicknesses will be considered and a lack of hair around the neck and face will be considered acceptable, providing there is considerable hair length across the remainder of the body.
Colour: Any colour or combination of colours.
Head: Medium in length with a straight profile or can appear dished due to there being a dip at the point at which the forehead meets the face. Forehead should be broad and tapering to a fine muzzle. Jaws should be well formed with an even bite. Over or undershot jaws are not acceptable. Beards are present and acceptable in both sexes.
Ears: Preferably, the ears are small and erect and give the goat an alert expression. Ear types will be at the discretion of the Committee but both pendulous and folded ears will not be considered.
Horns: Disbudded and polled animals are acceptable.
Neck: Should be moderate in length tapering smoothly into the withers and shoulders. Toggles are acceptable.
Body Conformation: Square and deep bodied, medium width in shoulders and back, with short legs. The body should be balanced and proportionate, long rather than short, with a sleek, elegant appearance. Belly rounded, with good capacity. In the developmental stages, a stockier appearance will be considered acceptable, providing the coat is abundant and long.
Front Legs and Chest: Chest showing good width, breast bone projects slightly forward with smooth attachment of forelegs.
Legs: Short, strong and straight, set square.
Topline: Straight and level that can slope moderately from the rump to tail bone.
Rump: Medium in width and length.
Size: Notably small. Purebred height for adult bucks not to exceed 62cm and adult does 57cm.
Show height limits
In the foundation stage of the breed, the following height limits will apply for registration and showing:
The heights will be reviewed every 12 months, with a view to reducing the heights in line with that of the Australian Miniature Goat.
The British Primitive Goat has been known throughout history as the British Native Goat or the Old British Goat.
When the British Isles was thought of in terms of ‘kingdoms’, it was believed that each country had its own distinct breed of native goat and they were divided into four breeds or varieties. They were known as the Old Welsh, Old Irish, Old Scottish and Old English even though the characteristics of each breed were very similar.
The British Primitive Goat was extremely versatile and was able to evolve and adapt to the changing climatic conditions after the last Ice Age.
A particular type of British goat evolved in the colder regions. They were compact, had short legs, longer faces to warm air in the nasal passages, smaller ears to protect against frostbite, larger bellies to accommodate larger quantities of nutritionally poor forage and thicker, longer coats.
These cold-adapted goats are the direct ancestors of what is now known as the Silky Goat.
Prior to the establishment of the AABMGS Inc. members of the AMGA (Australian Miniature Goat Association) had attempted to develop what was known as the Australian Sheltie Goat. These goats had the same breed standard as the Australian Miniature Goat and were classified according to their long, flowing, non-shedding coat type.
Breeders were having difficulty sourcing goats suitable for breeding stock to develop the Sheltie as a separate breed. They were far less common in the feral herds from which many of the ancestors of the Australian Miniature Goat were sourced, and breeding Shelties to goats of other coat types severely impacted the coat type of the progeny.
Some breeders introduced Angora and Cashmere types to try and improve coat length but this resulted in producing either partial or full self-shedding types.
By 2007 interest in the Australian Sheltie Goat was diminishing and in 2008 the breed ceased to be officially recognised. Since that time the word Sheltie has been used to describe a Miniature Goat coat type.
A few breeders continued to breed these long coated non-shedding miniatures, even though the breed was no longer recognised, because they did not want to see these beautiful little goats completely disappear in Australia. Sourcing breeding stock has always proven difficult but with the determination and persistence of a handful of dedicated AABMGS breeders the breed is slowly increasing in number.
Interest is again on the rise as more of these beautiful little goats are being bred and promoted. The AABMGS breeders who are dedicated to developing the breed were given the opportunity to decide on a name for the breed that is being developed within the AABMGS and the Silky Goat name was chosen.
Australian All Breeds of Miniature Goat Society Inc. and Miniature Sheep Branch Inc.